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ADA Compliance

ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all other places open to the general public, including digital assets such as websites and applications.

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What is the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is landmark legislation that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, aiming to facilitate equality in all areas of public life.
This includes the Internet, as enterprises with websites are compelled to “open their doors” to the large portion of impaired persons.
The code of regulations was enacted into U.S. law in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush.
The ADA was the direct result of years of effort of the disability civil rights community. Its legal framework can be traced back to Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, prohibiting discrimination of disabled recipients of federal funds.
It also builds on the 1964 Civil Rights Bill to widen non-discriminatory laws and compensate impaired individuals who face inaccessible goods, services, employment opportunities, or public accommodations and activities.

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Auto AI functions

Users with disabilities can create the optimum browsing experience for their needs using EqualWeb`s Auto AI Accessibility Widget. By simply toggling buttons on and off in the menus, users with impairments can navigate the website in a friendly and accessible manner, tailored to each specific need. The powerful Auto AI functions meet any disability type, from dyslexia to motor and audio impairments. The Auto AI offers a rich and easy-to-use interface comprising a total of 32 functions.

Learn more about AUTO AI ADA Compliance

What do you need to know about ADA compliance?

While the language of the law specifies physical spaces, as it was penned before the Internet even existed (the first website went up in 1991), it clearly invokes principles of accessibility, not narrow guidelines.
This is why digital accessibility-related lawsuits have been surging in recent years, alongside claims settled privately.
Federal courts have demonstrated a favorable position toward the inclusive interpretation of the ADA (more on that anon), putting businesses and organizations with web assets at risk of liability.
Bottom line: ADA compliance requires public and private enterprises to remediate their websites so that the significant population of disabled persons can gain access to products and services just like everybody else.

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Why is ADA Title III relevant to you?

The relevance of ADA Title III to you lies in its application to the private sector and non-profit organizations, ensuring non-discriminatory rules. While initially focused on physical places, the revised Title III Regulation clarifies that it also applies to websites. The Department of Justice has taken the position that Title III covers web accessibility for public accommodations. Although specific regulatory language is lacking, recent developments suggest the importance of preliminary protection and striving for ADA compliance to mitigate potential lawsuits. The increase in ADA Title III cases, exemplified by the National Federation of Blind v. Target Corp. case in 2006, highlights the need for accessible websites linked to physical stores. Companies have learned that courts rely on independent standards like WCAG for determining ADA compliance.

ADA Compliance standards

What is the ADA compliance standard?

A cloud of ambiguity shrouds this issue. ADA Title III does not articulate specific web accessibility standards, though it does note that Congress will thoroughly address this issue in the future.
Nevertheless, Title III does refer to the DOJ’s updated guidance from 2003.

The guidance stipulates two resources that websites should adhere to:

Section 508 is an updated revision of 1973’s Rehabilitation Act, defining and including web accessibility terms.

The section stipulates the more comprehensive resource, the WCAG, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as the standard to become ADA compliant.

As of today, WCAG 2.0 Level AA meets the required accessibility standards for websites, though the latest WCAG 2.2 Level AA would increase chances of meeting full ADA compliance, ensuring robust liability protection.

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I fall under the SMB category, am I protected?

Small and midsize businesses are not immune to ADA Title III lawsuits. While high-profile cases draw most attention from the press, a majority of claims are actually filed against SMBs.
A court ruling in 2019 handed a victory to a blind man, Guillermo Robles, who sued Domino’s Pizza after he was unable to order food on the pizza giant’s website and mobile app, despite using screen-reading software.
The decision led to an explosion of suits and claims against all types of businesses with digital assets that did not comply with Title III.
With 10 federal class action lawsuits filed each day since 2020—and no signs of slowing down—small businesses are being targeted more often than before.
Most cases are filed in New York, Florida and California; however, targeted businesses are listed from all over the U.S.
Around 77% of suits in 2021 involved e-commerce websites, as industries of retail, banking/financial, food service, entertainment and leisure, travel and hospitality, and others have come under the scrutiny of lawyers and plaintiffs.

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ADA compliance for Title I & Title II

Title I

Title I of the ADA ensures non-discriminatory employment rules, prohibiting discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in various aspects of employment. This title applies to organizations with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. While there have been relatively few web accessibility-related lawsuits filed under Title I so far.

Title II

Title II of the ADA extends non-discriminatory rules to state and local government services and programs. It aims to facilitate access and protection for individuals with disabilities. This title applies to all services and activities offered by public entities. Built upon Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II ensures accessibility in government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. The goal is to enable individuals with disabilities to benefit from public sector services and activities, promoting inclusivity for all citizens.

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EqualWeb provides ADA compliance

The nuts and bolts of ADA compliance can be overwhelming. This is where the expertise of EqualWeb in the web accessibility and legal compliance fields becomes invaluable.

EqualWeb offers the best accessibility solutions in the market, tailored to small, medium and large businesses, including non-profit organizations, which will (a) open your goods and services to large swathes of the disabled population and (b) provide you with full legal compliance.

With a focus on making design decisions and incorporating the latest technologies, Equalweb has created an automated AI tool that allows for seamless integration into any website. This solution is designed as an easy-to-use platform that helps organizations and businesses meet government regulations while providing customers with an excellent user experience.

Our customers receive an Accessibility Statement and a Certificate of Performance as well, mitigating liability. EqualWeb guarantees full ADA compliance.

Click here for EqualWeb accessibility solutions.

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